Apparently the the spy-shots of a Chevy Volt mule that turned up on-line late last night were not necessarily what they appeared to be. According to GM the photo's in question actually showed a ride and drive mule that is just testing suspension hardware. The gray car we saw earlier doesn't have any of the E-flex powertrain hardware installed. The giveaway would be the absence of a mis-shapen hood on that particular car. The red Malibu you see pictured here is actually one of the powertrain mules that has been circulating the roadways of the Milford proving ground for the last five months. Under that big lump on the drivers side of the hood lies the power electronics module. This vehicle actually has the electric drive motor, the engine/generator combination, power electronic module and a small nickel metal hydride battery pack. The pack is basically being used as a buffer between the engine/generator and motor so that those components can be tested. Powertrain and software engineers are using this car and other to test hardware components and start developing the control software that will make all of this work. Because the battery pack is so small, the engine/generator pretty much runs all the time in the charge sustaining mode that will happen when the lithium ion pack is depleted. The plan is still to start installing the lithium ion packs into mules like this one within the next few weeks.
[Source: General Motors]